DENVER (CBS4) – Lambda Law is suing the U.S. State Department on behalf of an intersex Fort Collins citizen denied a passport. The State Department now has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Dana Zzyym is the intersex person named in the legal complaint, stating discrimination. Zzyym says, “When it (passport application) said male or female … I put an ‘I’ in there and wrote that I wanted ‘X’ because I’m an intersex person.”

Born with both female and male anatomy, Zzyym was only an infant when gender was chosen with surgery, but would not find out until years later. At 50-years-old Zzyym began to identify with the intersex community, neither categorized as female or male.

Dana Zzyym talks with CBS4's Jennifer Brice (credit: CBS)

Dana Zzyym talks with CBS4’s Jennifer Brice (credit: CBS)

Now an activist raising awareness about the group, Zzyym wants to travel to conferences in other countries.

“I haven’t done anything wrong so why deny me?” Zzyym said. “We exist. They’ve ignored us for 200 years in this country but have existed since the beginning of time.”

Zzyym’s attorney says there is already a mechanism in place for passport applicants to use an “X” as a gender marker in other countries … such as Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and India. Paul Castillo is an attorney with Lambda Legal and is representing Zzyym.

Dana Zzyym (credit: CBS)

Dana Zzyym (credit: CBS)

“It’s ironic when the government allows foreign nationals with ‘X’ on their passport to enter and exit the United States but won’t for a U.S. citizen,” Castillo said.

Zzyym, who is not only a U.S. citizen, but also a Navy veteran, says intersex people just want the same rights as any other person.

“Recognize who we are as people. I’m a person,” Zzyym said.

The passport application requires that applicants submit a birth certificate, which in Zzyym’s case, the birth certificate says “sex unknown.”

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.

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